After last month's "getting the band together" issue,Justice League International plunged readers (and its heroes) into the thick of the action this month, as the JLI found themselves up against a massive, mysterious and somewhat aloof robotic alien threat. Who are the Signalmen? What's Batman really thinking about Booster Gold? Read on...
The International Exchange: Are the Signalmen trying to signal someone who we should recognize? There are a number of design elements used in these characters that we've seen before--some even in some Dan Jurgens characters (like Monarch, for example, with a little bit of the Millennium Giants thrown in for good measure), but none of them seem to fully BE any of those characters.
Dan Jurgens: No, we're working with new characters and concepts here. As we get out of the gate I think it's important to be dealing with new foes and threats. The only similarity would be the size.
IX: There's a bit of the old Rocket Red/Guy Gardner dynamic from the '80s JLI at play here with Rocket Red and August General In Iron. what is it that's fun and compelling about the nationalism-uber-alles attitude?
DJ: I think there's always fun to be found in some of those character differences. "I'm Navy, you're Army. I'm a mea eater, you're vegetarian." In this case, it's the Russia-China counterpoint. The characters themselves don't have to believe it as much as they want the other guy to think they do.
IX: The linework in this issue looks a bit more fluid and some of the characters (particularly Booster) look like Aaron is much more comfortable with them. Was it a big relief for you guys to get #1, with all of its expectations and obligations and editorial oversight, in the rear-view mirror?
DJ: Probably not as much as you think. No matter what title we happen to be working on, I think we're all finding more people looking and reading the stuff in order to keep it sharp and make it better.
In terms of Aaron's comfort with the characters, that has more to do with familiarity. I've always felt it takes me a good 25-30 pages to really find my visual "voice" on a book.Green Arrow #2, for example, looks better than Green Arrow #1.
IX: Someone needs to tell Gavril that if someone asks him if he's a god, he's supposed to say yes. That said, he's an all-technology, all-the-time guy. so is Booster, albeit with more sophisticated tech. The pair of them already seem as though they have a hot-and-cold relationship, between the conversation from last month being very respectful and warm and this issue being pretty cold. Do you see their dynamic as one of the ones to really watch?
DJ: It's certainly one of the dynamics to watch.
They know each other, but not real well. It isn't so much a question of trust as they're taking measure of each other. Booster is still trying to figure out what he has in this team and the others are trying to determine if he's the guy to lead them or just a cheap pitch man.
As some of the other characters bubble to the surface there will be more dynamics to key in on.
IX: I've never been totally clear on what powers the August General. Will we get into any of his backstory on this title, and/or find out whether the rest of the Great Ten exist in the new DC Universe
DJ: As we push forward, greater explanations will be supplied for each of the characters. I probably won't focus on the Great Ten a lot to start with as that tends to put even more characters into a book that already has quite a few.
Besides, rather than deal a lot with the past, I'd prefer to deal more with the NOW, their adventures and how they relate to one another.
DJ: The something more is simple: When a pretty girl bats her eyes at Booster he immediately softens a bit. Besides, any question of receptiveness in #1 was due more to a lack of familiarity.
IX: You've said that Fire & Ice know each other a little, but aren't the friends for life we've come to know them as in the previous Giffen/DeMatteis (and Jurgens) iteration of this title in the old DCU. Still, Fire is pretty adamant pretty fast that Booster is absolutely making the right decision regarding how to handle Tora's injuries. would she be that compassionate toward, say, Godiva as well or are we seeing the seed of the relationship we all (think we) know and love between those two?
DJ: Yeah, I think she'd have the same attitude toward Godiva. No one is there to be hurt and when the mission is falling apart, you have to take care of each other.
IX: It's hard not to comment on Batman's "enforcer" status when Gavril is acting up. Is it tough to walk the tightrope of writing Batman as a character who exudes authority and has everyone's respect but who isn't stepping on Booster's toes?
DJ: I don't think so.
Batman is clearly letting Booster run the show and only stepping in more actively when its really necessary.
The real question would be whether Batman has that much faith in Booster or is really there to study him and then make that determination.
IX: Any reason that bartender's name is Beau? I mean--the last time Guy Gardner was in a bar, it was the one that he owned thanks to Beau Smith's run on Guy Gardner: Warrior!
DJ: Hmm. Interesting coincidence.
IX: Will Booster's standing up to the UN (both for Batman and in general) be a recurring issue as the title continues?
DJ: The level of comfort between the JLI and UN will be continue to be a factor in the book, whether it's Booster or all the members.
IX: The relationship between Guy and Ice here really seems to have returned to the way I remember it, before she returned from the dead and became his supporting character. Was the idea to kind of return that relationship to its best-known status quo, a la the Superman love triangle?
DJ: I think we've made it clear that they have a past, though it might not go as far as what you remember. Some people can pack quite a relationship and heartache into a few weeks.
IX: I have to ask--is that guy on the last page Mongul? I mean, he doesn't really look like Mongul as we've seen him in the past, but with the color scheme and the fact that he'd be a great challenge to the JLI it seems plausible!
DJ: Wow... I didn't even realize the color scheme was in the same family. I suppose it is a bit.
No, it is not Mongul. As I said earlier, we're talking new!